The Man Who Made and Unmade Emperors
Ricimer discovered that Majorian was an unsuitable puppet: he proved himself a capable ruler and military commander. Majorian subdued the Visigoths in Gaul, and brought the province back under imperial control. He then marched against the Vandals in Hispanis, and left Ricimer behind in Italy. The Vandals defeated Marjorian, however, and while he was gone, Ricimer convinced the Senate to depose him. When Majorian returned to Italy, Ricimer had him arrested, tortured, and executed. In his place, Ricimer appointed Libius Severus as Western emperor in 461. He ruled through Severus until the latter’s death in 465, after which the Western Roman throne remained vacant for two years.
Ricimer finally acquiesced to the Eastern Emperor Leo I’s appointment of Anthemius as Western emperor. In exchange, Ricimer married Anthemius’ daughter. However, after Anthemius led a major expedition against the Vandals to catastrophic defeat, Ricimer turned on his father in law, and besieged him in Rome. When the city fell, Anthemius tried to flee, disguised as a beggar. It did not work, and he was caught and beheaded in 472. Ricimer then replaced him with Olybrius, an envoy sent by the Eastern emperor to try and mediate between Ricimer and Anthemius. Ricimer did not enjoy his new puppet for long however, and died only six weeks later from a hemorrhage.